October 2011

In October 2011 I visited Rikuzentakta for the first time. What was awaiting me there was beyond my imagination.
I thought I was prepared to face the reality of the situation there, because my mother and sister had shared reports with me of their visit for voluntary work soon after March 2011. But when I arrived, I was so shocked. The entire city had been completely destroyed, and an overwhelming and depressing emptiness ruled.
I felt extremely powerless and asked myself:
“Is there anything I can do at all?”
During this visit, I donated five sewing machines to Takata High School, which had been completely damaged by the tsunami and forced to move into a temporary location in a former agricultural school further up the country. This donation was made possible by a wonderful partnership with Bernina International, who generously sponsored the project.
My aims were to show the students the pleasure of being creative during such a difficult time, to encourage them not to give up, and to demonstrate that it is possible to make one’s passion a profession.
At Takata Senior High School, the director, Mr.Kudo, the vice-director, Mr.Funakoshi, and the home economics teacher, Mrs.Yamaguchi, welcomed me warmly.
That day Mr.Kudo said something I have never forgotten:
“Financial and material donations are certainly important. What is much more important is that you don’t forget about the children. Please come and visit us again.”
These words convinced me to visit Rikuzentakata as much as possible and to continue with my commitment.

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